Vitamin D is also referred to as the “sunshine vitamin”, as the body can produce it by itself through exposure to sunlight. UVB radiation causes a provitamin to be generated in the skin. As a result of body heat, the active vitamin D3 is then produced.
Studies over the past few years have verified that a large proportion of the population has a vitamin D deficiency.
Why is that?
On the one hand, many people are inside much of the time and rarely get out in the fresh air.
On the other hand, sunscreens with a high sun protection factor are frequently used to protect the skin. This results in impaired formation of vitamin D. A sunscreen with a protection factor of 8 already has this effect.
Women who wear headscarves or veils receive hardly any UVB radiation. They usually demonstrate a striking vitamin D deficiency.
Occurrence: Besides the body’s own production of vitamin D, which makes up 80 - 90 % of the supply, it can also be obtained through our diet. The main sources are cod liver oil, fish and ‒ to a lesser extent ‒ milk, cheese and eggs.
- For the skeletal system: One of the main tasks of vitamin D is to channel calcium into the bones. This assists in developing and strengthening the skeletal system of the growing child.
Important: Adequate amounts of calcium should be available! You should therefore ensure your diet is calcium-rich, containing milk and dairy products. Kale also contains plenty of calcium.
- For the immune system: Vitamin D is decisive in supporting the immune system.
- For muscle function: The interaction of muscles and muscle strength is promoted with a good vitamin D supply.
With an adequate supply of vitamin D, pregnant women can reduce the risks of certain complications during pregnancy (e.g. gestational diabetes or the risk of a premature birth).
Besides this, studies have also shown that the allergy rate among children is lower if their mothers had sufficient levels of vitamin D during pregnancy.